Dear English teachers,
Can I use "relate to and mean" interchangeably and could I ask whether my following sentence is acceptable?Many thanks in advance.
Active attacks relate to an adversary attempts to modify system resources or affect their operations.
Could I ask when to use "relate to" and when to use "mean"?
Fri 15 Jan, 2016 07:36 am
"To relate to" means to be about or to be connected to something already under discussion or in context. "To mean" means to signify, or to intend that something occur. Relate to would be used to clarify or expand upon a definition or explanation. Mean would be the actual definition or explanation.
Fri 15 Jan, 2016 07:40 am
I just realized that in my original response i had written:
"Active attacks relate to an adversary' attempt to modify system resources or affect their operations."
That ought to have been:
"Active attacks relate to an adversary's attempt to modify system resources or affect their operations."
Fri 15 Jan, 2016 07:43 am
I'm sorry, i'm not typing well today, but i believe i have corrected all of my errors.
I also see a problem in that resources don't operate. Someone or some process would use resources for an operation of some kind, but the resources themselves are not active.
This sounds like an IT context, in which 'system resources' could be software programs, which definitely have modes of operation. Elements of any system, computer or otherwise, can be resources - e.g. an electrical power system could have generating resources (various kinds of power plant) and they could operate (be operated) more or less efficently, surely?
Fri 15 Jan, 2016 12:06 pm
I cannot imagine a situation in which they would be interchangeable
Pure guesswork, Jane, but mebbe:
"Active attacks" relate to, or even mean, an adversary's attempts to modify system resources or affect their operations
Setanta Selected Answer
Sat 16 Jan, 2016 04:24 am
You would use mean when defining, when signifying the definition of a term.
Note that in the sentence you provided, in the first example, attempt is a noun, whereas when you use mean in the sentence, attempt becomes a verb. Relate to and mean cannot be used interchangeably.